India’s reputation on the global stage is blowing up, with some of the nation’s greatest athletes showcasing their skills with victories over top-shelf competition.
Previously, the country with the world’s second-largest population (approximately 1.38 billion) has been underrepresented in ONE Championship. But now, the South Asian nation is making its presence felt in a major way.
Elite athletes from other combat sports like wrestling and wushu have transitioned to mixed martial arts, and one has even earned the first World Title shot for India in 2020.
Also, the ONE Super App has been made available in Hindi, which is further proof of the country’s growing presence in the sport.
Indian fans are hungrier than ever to see their national heroes succeed in The Home Of Martial Arts, and these dynamic warriors are certainly living up to those high expectations.
Here are the five greatest victories from India’s talented athletes in the world’s largest martial arts organization.
Bhullar Takes Out “The Hammer”
What made the occasion even more remarkable was the fact that the Commonwealth Games Wrestling gold medalist dominated his hard-hitting Italian rival with his crisp boxing repertoire.
Cerilli swung heavy leather at Bhullar in the opening frame, but “Singh” stayed composed and picked him off with an arrow-like jab.
As the bout wore on, the 33-year-old dialed up his offensive attack and connected with a raft of punishing uppercuts, which hurt “The Hammer.”
Phogat Blasts “Captain Marvel” In ONE Debut
The world eagerly awaited Ritu “The Indian Tigress” Phogat’s mixed martial arts debut, and she delivered on the expectation with a crushing first-round TKO victory over “Captain Marvel” Nam Hee Kim at ONE: AGE OF DRAGONS in November 2019.
Phogat, the Commonwealth Wrestling Championships gold medalist, used a double-leg takedown to drag the South Korean to the canvas early.
The action briefly returned to the stand-up range when she backed out of her rival’s guard, but it did not last there for long.
Once again, the 25-year-old wrestling superstar scored with a takedown and she moved right into side control. Kim did her best to stay safe on the ground, but “The Indian Tigress” was relentless with her pressure.
The end came when Phogat trapped her rival’s left arm between her legs in a crucifix position, and then pounded away with punches and elbows to score an impressive first victory.
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“Saint Lion” Dominates A Former World Title Challenger
The Canadian-Indian athlete used his dynamic striking to pepper “Dynamite” with hard kicks to the body and legs, and he also connected with damaging counter punches in the opening stanza.
Mangat upped the pace in round two and continued to wear his foe down, and then, in the third frame, he went all-in for the finish.
“Saint Lion” dropped the Finn with a right hand-left hook combination. Although “Dynamite” returned to his feet, the Canadian-Indian athlete backed him up, took him down, and softened him up with more punches and elbows.
Tauru turtled up to try to defend, but the 33-year-old rattled him again with a crunching left knee. Then, he sealed the deal with hammerfists to get his career in the world’s largest martial arts organization off to a stunning start.
“The Cyclone” Overcomes The Hometown Hero
The crowd inside the Istora Senayan in Jakarta, Indonesia screamed for their local hero, Priscilla Hertati Lumban Gaol, but that did not faze Puja “The Cyclone” Tomar, who scored a hard-earned split decision victory at ONE: ETERNAL GLORY in January 2019.
“Thathie” had won five of her previous six bouts in The Home Of Martial Arts, but the Indian halted that momentum with a versatile display of striking and grappling.
Both athletes came from a wushu background, but each competitor employed different strategies, and it was “The Cyclone’s” heavy counter-attacks that gave her success on the feet.
The 26-year-old Indian atomweight came close to finishing Lumban Gaol with heavy ground and pound at the tail-end of the first frame, and that was likely the biggest contributing factor in her favor as two judges gave her the nod after 15 closely-contested minutes.
Kaushik Blitzes Rozten Via KO
India's Himanshu Kaushik kicks off ONE: HERO’S ASCENT with a stunning knockout of Egi Rozten at 3:33 of Round 1! ????????Watch the full event LIVE & FREE on the ONE Super App ???? http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast
Posted by ONE Championship on Friday, January 25, 2019
Himanshu Kaushik got his first promotional victory in emphatic fashion at ONE: HERO’S ASCENT when he knocked out Indonesia’s Egi Rozten with a barrage of ground strikes in the first round of their bout in January 2019.
The Indian strawweight, who is a national wushu champion, used his kicks to inflict damage on his opponent’s lead leg. Rozten fired back, but Kaushik caught his rival’s kick, scored with several right hands, and then dumped him to the mat.
From there, the Crossfit Fitness Academy representative took his time to work his ground and pound, and then he exploded for the finish when he saw the right opportunity.
The 27-year-old drew back a big right hand and then dropped it onto Rozten’s jaw. A swift flurry of lefts and rights came shortly after, and he knocked the Indonesian out cold.